Civic Building at One Veterans Plaza

Civic | Exterior
LOCATION: Silver Spring, Maryland
SIZE: 52,000 sq. ft.
OWNERS: Montgomery County
ARCHITECT: Machado and Silvetti Associates, Inc.
AWARDS: 2011 IES Illumination Award of Merit
  2011 AIA Maryland Design Award
  2011 AIA New England Design Award
  2011 BSA Honor Award for Design Excellence
PHOTOGRAPHER: © Anton Grassl / Esto, © Lam Partners

DESIGN TEAM:Paul Zaferiou
 Jennifer Pieszak

A monumental frame creates the backdrop for this urban plaza. The proscenium-like frame comes to life through expansive washes of light, while civic pride glows from within.

High-performance asymmetric floodlights, concealed at the civic building’s roof and base, boldly animate the wood-lined arch to announce the great hall entry. Recessed wallwashers highlight orange interior walls and opal fluorescent pendants adorn the prefunction space.

Community involvement and civic pride forged the project. A beloved swath of Astroturf was transformed into the county civic building, landscaped plaza space, and a multifunction pavilion sheltering a seasonal ice rink, arranged as a sequence of active outdoor rooms within the vibrant retail district.

The pavilion itself grabs center stage when a timeclock starts DMX-controlled evening shows. Color-changing floodlights mounted to catwalks on the roof illuminate diffuse glass panels, and are easily accessed for maintenance.

Steplights integrated into concrete benches form a procession connecting with recessed rectangular downlights indoors. Glowing uplit trees contrast softly with building geometries.

All plaza walkways are illuminated without any pole-mounted hardware – fluorescent handrails even light plaza stairs. Integrated lighting that reinforces the plaza’s main axis allows strolling and socializing without clutter.